US provides mobile lab to strengthen Pakistan’s COVID-19 testing capacity

KARACHI, Aug 04 (APP): The United States Government on Thursday presented a mobile biosafety laboratory to Sindh Department of Health to strengthen capacity to diagnose COVID-19.

Through this facility, testing for other communicable diseases will be held, especially in Pakistan’s remote locations where there is limited capacity to monitor and test for potential infectious disease, said a statement issued by the US Consulate.

“This state-of-the-art laboratory will improve the accuracy of diagnoses, reduce testing turnaround time, and better protect healthcare workers.”

The US Consul General in Karachi Mark Stroh and Sindh Minister for Health and Population Welfare Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho attended the handover ceremony, along with other officials from the Department of Health, Sindh.

Earlier on July 6, US Ambassador Donald Blome had handed over four mobile laboratories in Islamabad to Pakistan’s National Institute of Health.

“ I am pleased to present this mobile biosafety laboratory to the health leadership of the Government of Sindh to serve the people of Sindh as well as Balochistan,” Mark Stroh said.

He said this mobile lab would enable the Pakistani government to respond quickly and effectively in hard-to-reach remote areas during emergencies, an outbreak, or an epidemic.

Consul General Stroh also commended the Pakistani healthcare workers for their effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular, Sindh’s successful vaccination campaigns.

Minister Azra Pechuho expressed gratitude for the US government’s ongoing support through USAID on improving health services in the province, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US government had been working to save lives and contain the outbreak in more than 120 countries, including Pakistan, she said.

Pechuho said, “The ongoing US assistance to Pakistan provides emergency relief, strengthens health systems, supports vaccine readiness and distribution, improves public health education, and protects health care workers and facilities.”

She said the US had donated to Pakistan more than 77 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and one million COVID-19 rapid diagnostic tests.